A regional program has developed a unique take in promoting organic agriculture in the Pacific by linking it to women empowerment.

The second mission for the project called Building Prosperity for Women Producers, Processors and Women-Owned Businesses (BPWP) was conducted in Palau last week, September 12 and 13, to launch the first phase of the project which includes recruitment of personnel and development of project tools and training methodologies, among others. The project first took off in August 2018 and will run until June 2022.

BPWP Project Manager Neema Nand, in an interview, said that the project is funded by the Australian government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It is being implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) and Land Resource Division through Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCOM).

The focus of the program, according to Nand, is to build good opportunities for women producers and processors through organic agriculture.

Farm visits and meetings with the local farmers and government agencies were conducted last week to gather information necessary for the project to go forward, Nand explained.

Aside from Palau, the project will also be implemented in three other Pacific island nations namely the Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

“So basically the participants are looking at how they could use the techniques that they’ve learned over the past few days and used it on the ground to fill up the forms and templates,” Nand said. They also observed how women in Palau engage in the farming sector of the country by interviewing women who are involved in the industry. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)